The idea of child soldiers is something which makes all of us very uncomfortable. The harsh reality that there are children carrying weapons, forced to kill and support a cause they have been dragged into is something rarely covered in mainstream media. Canadian writer/director Kim Nguyen’s War Witch is a powerful film portraying the injustice of a female child soldier, Komona (Rachel Mwanza), who is carrying an unwanted baby in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nguyen’s work is fiction but there is an unforgiving sense of reality that accompanies this piece of filmmaking. Mwanza superbly captures the torment of a young woman forced to give up everything she believes in to survive life amongst the rebels, with her journey into womanhood engulfed in danger. Nguyen has created a film which explores the darker side to humanity but also successfully captures the beautiful moments within such a harsh environment. Her film is raw and cutting, yet she manages to switch tones easily, taking detours into less serious storylines, ensuring she doesn’t emotionally manipulate her audience. War Witch is a film that is sure to unsettle but it does so in the most subtle and stunning ways.